DEAD TO ME By Mary McCoy reviewed
Alice used to worship her older sister Annie. But Annie walked out of the family and hasn’t been heard from for four years…until today.
Alice and her older sister Annie grew up in a Hollywood household. Their parents weren’t famous or anything, but their father worked publicity for a studio, and so the girls spent a lot of time alone together while their parents flitted from party to party. When Annie was deemed old enough, she was dolled up and trotted out to the parties, to sing and entertain the guests. But one night everything went wrong. After a huge fight with their father, Annie left and never came back. Alice was told that Annie didn’t want to be part of the family anymore, but Alice knew it was something much bigger than that. Annie never would have left her behind otherwise. But now a local hospital has called to tell Alice that her sister has been badly beaten and is lying in a coma. It seems that Annie sometimes worked for a private detective helping to locate people—the same private detective who now tells Alice that he will find out what happened to her sister. But Alice can’t let it rest. She needs to find out the answers for herself and starts to dig into the story. Where has Annie been all these years? And what has she been doing that would make someone want to kill her?
I’m admittedly a sucker for things set during the 40’s and 50’s, so this was right up my alley—especially seeing it called the LA Confidential for the young adult crowd…and that’s not far off the mark.
I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline, which was pretty dark and didn’t pull any punches for a YA novel. Alice was a sympathetic and realistic character, and I felt like her distress at her sister’s loss was very real, especially given how uninvolved and dysfunctional her parents were. Alice really pulled into herself and pushed her friends away, and when given the chance to find out what really happened to her sister, she jumped in without question. The big picture unpacked itself really well and there were several genuine surprises along the way. I also absolutely loved how the ending kept things wasn’t all sunshine and happy endings for everyone, which was both refreshing and realistic. All in all this was a very satisfying and enjoyable read. And with the tag line: “The people who live in the nicest houses have the dirtiest secrets,” how can you resist?
Erica Ruth Neubauer